Don't give thanks for trying to end workers' secret ballots

The statesman William Jennings Bryan remarked long ago that "on Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence." If that's true, liberal politicians eyeing a feast from Big Labor's table have a lot to recognize this holiday.

Labor leaders have opened their house and treasury to left-of-center politicians and promised a cornucopia to those who toe the union line. Planning to break its previous donation record, the AFL-CIO said it will spend more than $50 million to elect friendly politicians. Its member unions will spend a whopping $200 million. The powerful Service Employees International Union will likely surpass $70 million.

It's no wonder SEIU's president just confessed to the New York Times that he faces an "identity crisis" between being a labor leader and an "ATM" for Democrats.

Of course, labor leaders expect some thanksgiving for their generosity. Officials from the newly formed Change To Win coalition recently announced a $14 million surcharge on member dues to fund a war chest specifically aimed at "electing candidates that will help pass the so-called Employee Free Choice Act.

For labor leaders, this act would be a true bounty. The proposed law, already supported by all but two congressional Democrats, would make organizing new employees so easy that a conservative estimate suggests Big Labor could pick up an additional $5 billion in new dues each year.

For working Americans, though, EFCA is a real turkey. It would effectively kill the process of secret ballot elections for employees choosing whether to join a union. It would even impose binding, government-mandated "arbitration" on companies that don't reach a speedy agreement with a new union. It's hard to imagine the Pilgrims blessing such government intervention.

Given their hearty investment this election cycle, it's understandable union officials expect a full helping of pro-labor governance.

"All of the candidates on the Democratic side of the ticket, they're all speaking our language," boasted American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees President Gerald McEntee, adding, "We're going for the trifecta: the House, the Senate and the White House."

So, when certain politicians bemoan our "dependence on Big Oil," it may be wise this holiday to remember their dependence on Big Labor. And as union officials offer to dish out, one can only hope the wisest politicians will politely but firmly say, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Bret Jacobson is a senior research analyst at the Center for Union Facts.


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